3/23/2006

home again, home again, jiggity jig


We flew Jet Blue, and I have to say I was well-pleased with the flight, the crew, the service, everything. I fly a few times a year, usually with whoever's got the lowest fare, and some of these airlines have nothing--and I mean nothing--and the flight attendants are assholes to boot. It's like you're in the army.

The thing that cracked me up the last time I flew down to Florida on an airline that shall remain nameless: when they came around with drinks, if you asked for a coke, they didn't give you the whole can. Not when they could get four of their thimble-sized cups out of one. I mean, that's pathetic. You start feeling sorry for the airlines when they can't even afford a can of pop per customer. And charging for earphones? I still think that's petty. And then charging you again for the movie (Jet Blue charges five bucks for their "premium channels" but you can watch several others at no charge), and then the movie is something like, The Shaggy D.A. or Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. You know what I'm sayin'? If I'm gonna pay five bucks I want Stud Farm, Swim Meat or Screw 2.

Not Jet Blue. You get CNN live. You get Comedy Central and Bravo and a bunch of other channels for free, so there's plenty of entertainment on hand should you need it. The planes are nice. Even the new terminal at Logan was lovely. The automated ticket thingy was fast and easy. The whole thing was a breeze.

So anyway, I was on the plane on the way back from Miami, watching something on my seatback TV, when Bush's extraordinary press conference popped up on my neighbor's. Extraordinary, because he so seldom has them. He had just ten solo press conferences in his first term (compared to 33 for Clinton and 60 for Bush, Sr.). So I started watching it on my neighbor's TV, without the sound, of course. You should try it. His erratic gestures, the hunching and shrugging and chopping the air. The facial expressions that go from exultation to scorn to bathos in the space of mere seconds. It's like he's been studying his emoticon chart, because, honestly, he's about as subtle as an emoticon.

I have also noticed, watching him, that the emotion, when it crosses his face, is almost an afterthought, like he says something, and then remembers all the sudden, "oh, I'm supposed to look [insert emotion here] now!" The expression always trails the phrase, always seems to come a split-second too late.

What was also interesting was the commentary on the screen. You know how, during the speech, the news network flashes little summaries on the bottom of the screen, presumably so that if you've just tuned in you'll be able to follow (but obviously it's obsessive editorializing--I think they should start including a laugh-track, too). So, I think it was CNN my neighbor was watching, but it might have been MSNBC or Fox, and a couple of the "talking points" were pretty funny. My favorites: "Bush: Iraqis have decided not to go into civil war," and "Bush: Iraqis had a chance to fall apart and they didn't."

Then you've got Cheney going on one of his charm offensives, saying really it's all the press's fault, because they're not reporting the good stuff that's going on over there. If it bleeds it leads, baby. Dick Cheney should know that better than almost anyone.

It's true, the press cheered you guys on when you started this thing, but that's because war is great for newspapers and networks. Almost as good for them as it is for Halliburton and Lockheed Martin. But it's also in the press's interest once you get going to report on your fuck-ups. That's news, bitches. Now you've got Cheney & Co. whining that the press isn't propagandizing their war to their satisfaction.

Well, cry me a river.

It's always someone else's fault for these guys, isn't it? And someone else's responsibility. There's a good piece by David Martin in today's Globe about that.

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